Maya was the main reason I learned python. MEL is great for simple scripts but python is so much more powerful. I'm currently making an auto rigging system for maya using python.
the maya.cmds library makes it easy to transition from MEL to python because its just wrapping the MEL commands. The downside is it makes maya.cmds very unpythonic and messy. There is a third party python wrapper called pymel, but I'd avoid it as it can be very slow. If you really want to make awesome python scripts for maya I recommend checking out the maya python API 2 once your feeling more confident with python.
Yeah me too...Maya is the only reason to learn Python, for now at least. I am still on very beginning though but knowledge of MEL and scripting "mindset" helps a lot to easily converting my MEL scripts to Python. Do you maybe have any suggestions for some other good Python learning resources (apps, websites, books..)?